Functions of Essential Nutrients of the Body | Felix Omoko's Blog

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The human body need six essential nutrients for proper functioning that people need to consume through food sources to maintain optimal health: Carbohydrates, fats, minerals, protein, vitamins and water.

The essential nutrients are crucial in supporting a person’s reproduction, good health, and growth according to WHO reports. 



Micronutrients are nutrients that a person needs in small doses. Micronutrients consist of vitamins and minerals. Although the body only needs small amounts of them, a deficiency can cause ill health.

Macronutrients are nutrients that a person needs in larger amounts. Macronutrients include water, protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Keep reading for more information about where to find these nutrients, and why a person needs them.


A diet rich in vegetable, fruits, and lean proteins should provide a person with plenty of vitamins.

  • It boosts the immune system
  • It helps to prevent or delay certain cancers, such as prostate cancer
  • It strengthens teeth and bones
  • It aids calcium absorption
  • It helps to maintain healthy skin
  • Its supports healthy blood
  • It aids brain and nervous system functioning


Fat Soluble Vitamins
Examples are vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K.

Water Soluble Vitamins
Examples are vitamin B-1 (thiamine), vitamin B-12 (cyanocobalamin)
vitamin B-6, vitamin B-2 (riboflavin), vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid),
vitamin B-3 (niacin), vitamin B-9 (folate, folic acid), vitamin B-7 (biotin)
vitamin C.

There are two groups of minerals: major and trace minerals. The body needs a balance of minerals from both groups for healthy body.

Major Minerals: 
Examples are magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sulphur, sodium, potassium and chloride.

Functions of Major minerals 
Balance water levels
Maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails
Improve bone health

Trace Minerals: 
Examples are iron, selenium, zinc, manganese, chromium
Copper, iodine, fluoride, molybdenum.

Functions of Trace minerals
strengthening bones
preventing tooth decay
aiding in blood clotting
helping to carry oxygen
supporting the immune system
supporting healthy blood pressure

Certain grains are rich in protein. Protein is a macronutrient that every cell in the body needs to function properly.

Functions of Protein
It ensures the growth and development of muscles, bones, hair, and skin
forming antibodies, hormones, and other essential substances
serving as a fuel source for cells and tissues when needed.

Sources of Proteins
Examples are red meats (limit their use and choose lean cuts), 
poultry, including chicken and turkey, 
fish and other seafood,
beans and legumes,
dairy products
some grains, including quinoa

Fats provide the body with energy and help it carry out a range of functions. However, it is essential to consume healthful fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and limit or avoid saturated and trans fats.

Functions of Fats
1. cell growth
2. blood clotting
3. building new cells
4. reducing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
5. muscle movement
6. balance blood sugar
7. brain functioning
8. mineral and vitamin absorption
9. hormone production
10. immune function
11. According to recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a person should 

Carbohydrates are essential to the body. They are sugars or starches that provide energy for all the cells and tissues in the body.

Types of Carbohydrates: Simple and complex. People should limit their intake of simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and rice. 

Functions of Complex Carbohydrates
the immune system
brain function
the nervous system
energy to perform tasks
digestive function

Examples of food that gives complex carbohydrates
quinoa, brown rice, vegetables, whole grain pasta, bread, and other baked goods, oatmeal, fruits and barley.

Water is the most important essential nutrient that a person needs because it flushes toxin out of the body. To avoid dehydration, every person is expected to consume water frequently.

Functions of Water
1. Flushing toxins out
2. Shock absorption
3. Transporting nutrients
4. Preventing constipation
5. Lubrication
6. Hydration

Source of Water
- Drinking of natural water
- Tap or bottled water

Avoid Sugary Drinks
Examples of sugary drinks are sweetened teas, coffees, soda, lemonade, and fruit juices.